'Don't eat the fish': PFAS found in Ipswich waterways

HIGH levels of a dangerous chemical have been found in Ipswich waterways.

Fish caught in Warrill Creek and the Bremer River have been found to contain high levels of the controversial PFAS chemical, used in fire-fighting exercises at RAAF Base Amberley.

Residents have been advised not to eat fish caught in either waterway.

Queensland Health has issued the warning after being advised of the preliminary lab results by the Defence Department which tested perch, mullet and eel caught in the area.

The chemical's presence may create a health issue for anyone who has eaten fish from those waterways regularly over a long period of time, but is otherwise unlikely to have a detrimental health impact.

A spokesperson for Queensland Health said the department had provided the Defence Department with a range of health-related information and pointed out Defence had the primary responsibility of informing the public - which it has not.

"As an interim precaution, until Department of Defence can carry out further testing, people should not eat fish caught within this locality," the spokesperson said.

"As the polluter, Department of Defence has primary responsibility of notifying the public about the issue.

"Queensland Health has provided Department of Defence a range of health-related information, but people who have eaten fish infrequently from the area should not expect to have elevated levels of PFAS.

"All further enquiries, including about the locations, nature and possible cause of the contamination, should be directed to Department of Defence."

PFAS, per-and-poly fluoroalkyl, is a chemical contained in fire-fighting foam used for decades at defence bases around the country.

Across Australia, investigations were launched at 23 bases.

Amberley is one four Queensland bases undergoing a detailed investigation which began in March 2017.

The launch of the investigation followed a preliminary sampling program at 12 sites, including Amberley.


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